(2) Duke 67

(15-0, 4-0 ACC)

Georgia Tech 59

(11-4, 0-3 ACC)

    7:00 PM ET, January 11, 2006

    1 2 T
    #2DUKE 32 3567
    GT 29 3059

    Cold-shooting Duke holds on to beat Georgia Tech

    ATLANTA (AP) -- Duke showed it could win a close game, too.

    The No. 2 Blue Devils survived their tightest contest of the season, defeating Georgia Tech 67-59 Wednesday night despite shooting just 33 percent and being held without a field goal for the final 6:27.

    Duke (15-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) had been winning by an average margin of nearly 43 points a game.

    "I don't think our team enjoys blowing other teams out," coach Gail Goestenkors said. "In a way, this will be good for us. We had to hustle to make plays. We had to scrap and claw. There's going to be games where the shots aren't falling. We've been shooting phenomenally. But when you're not hitting shots, that's when you've got to rely on your defense, your rebounding and your free-throw shooting."

    Led by Wanisha Smith with 13 points, the Blue Devils made only 21-of-64 shots against Georgia Tech's matchup zone. The Yellow Jackets (11-4, 0-3) didn't give up much on the outside, either, holding Duke to 7-of-23 from 3-point range.

    Duke had been shooting 55 percent from the field.

    "I'm very proud of my team's effort defensively," Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. "That's the closest anybody has played them all year. This is something we can grow from."

    The Blue Devils went ahead for good on Abby Waner's 3-pointer less than three minutes into the second half. But they struggled to put Georgia Tech away, failing to make a field goal after Lindsey Harding's 3-pointer with 6:27 to go.

    Duke wrapped up the victory at the foul line, hitting nine of its last 11 attempts. Harding scored 12 points, while Monique Currie and Chante Black added 11 apiece.

    Currie, the Blue Devils' leading scorer, was double-teamed just about every time she touched the ball and made only 4-of-13 shots. But she led Duke with nine rebounds, and chipped in three assists and a steal.

    "You have to dig down sometimes," Currie said. "I'm just glad we won. Against a better team, the result probably would have been different."

    The Blue Devils has a 66-point blowout of Fairfield and an 86-point rout of Ball State on their record this season. Their closest game coming into this one was an 84-70 victory at Texas.

    Georgia Tech held Duke to its fewest points of the season, far shy of its 97-point average and just below a 69-37 victory over Auburn. The Blue Devils already have tied a school record with six 100-point games.

    "If we can hold Duke to 67 points, we can hold anybody to 67," Joseph said. "We know we can play with anybody. There's a lot of games to be played."

    Stephanie Higgs led Georgia Tech with 21 points and filled in ably for injured point guard Jill Ingram. But Chioma Nnamaka was the only teammate in double figures with 10 points, and Georgia Tech shot only 39 percent (22-of-56).

    Duke didn't have any fast-break points but worked hard for extra chances with 23 offensive rebounds -- two more than it grabbed at the defensive end.

    "We usually get a lot things going with our fast break," Currie said. "We weren't able to do that tonight."

    Still, Duke slowly pulled away over the final seven minutes. Nnamaka hit a pair of free throws to bring Georgia Tech to 57-51 with 2:57 remaining, but the Yellow Jackets never got any closer.

    The Blue Devils finally pushed the margin into double figures when Smith made two foul shots with 32.5 seconds left to make it 62-52.

    The Yellow Jackets set the tone with a scrappy first half. There were seven lead changes and seven ties before a quick spurt, capped by Laura Kurz's 3-pointer, pushed Duke to the biggest edge of the half, 32-25.

    Georgia Tech scored the final two baskets to trail 32-29 at the break.

    "I feel good about it," Higgs said. "It's tough losing, but it's not that bad when you know you left it all on the court."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    2005-06 Season

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